Facebook Needs to Fix The Pages Product

Back in November Facebook released a new product called Facebook Pages. What I believed was the most important feature was the ability to add applications to Pages. Since then thousands of pages have been created and everyday I see another friend that has become a fan of a product, person, or service. There are still some serious issues with the Pages product though. I experienced these first hand while launching the inaugural Social Ad Summit.

Can’t Send Messages

This has to be the most significant problem facing pages: you can’t send messages to fans! Rather than using messages Facebook opted to use an alternative messaging system called “updates”. The only problem with notifications? In any given day I get about 20 notifications. The other problem? Most users don’t read them.

If you create an event for your fan page, you can’t send messages to them either! Instead, if you create an event for your fan page you will only be able to send them notifications with event updates. This has to be the most backwards system ever. I understand why Facebook doesn’t want to let fan pages send unlimited messages but they should at least hold the same standard for events whether created by a fan page or a user.

Paid Promotion Only

Facebook encourages owners of Facebook pages to promote their page by purchasing Facebook advertising. This contrasts Facebook groups in which any user (depending on group restrictions) can typically invite their friends to join. This in turn contributes to groups growing virally. Unfortunately for pages, the only viral growth comes in the form of newsfeed notifications.

It is an awkward balance that Facebook has for groups and fan pages. Fan pages appear to receive a higher priority when it comes to news feeds. Why is that exactly? Well Facebook arbitrarily decided it. This model is also somewhat of a conflict of interest. They want to make it easy to spread information but they want companies to pay for some of that promotion.

Ongoing Conflict

While Facebook needs to adjust their Pages product, it’s clear that Facebook still has a lot of changes that need to be made. As I said earlier, Facebook’s model presents somewhat of a conflict of interest. Imagine if Google was in the business of charging for placement of actual search results and not just ad words. Facebook has an unbalanced emphasis on paid promotion and this is something that will have to be resolved as the company works out their monetization model.

Facebook should promote their advertising services equally throughout the site. Whatever model Facebook plans on using for monetization, the most important thing is fully functional products.